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Yevgeny Rylov, Russia’s top swimmer, banned 9 months after attending Putin rally

Swimming - Olympics: Day 7

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 30: Evgeny Rylov of Team ROC reacts after winning the gold medal in the Men’s 100m Backstroke Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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Yevgeny Rylov, a Russian Olympic gold medalist swimmer, was banned nine months after attending a pro-Vladimir Putin rally in March.

FINA, swimming’s international governing body, also extended its overall ban on Russia and Belarus athletes and officials from its international competitions through the end of this year. It previously banned athletes from those nations from the world aquatics championships this summer.

Russia’s swimming federation responded to last month’s world championships ban by withdrawing all of its athletes from international events for the rest of the year.

A FINA disciplinary panel investigated Rylov, who swept the men’s backstroke golds in Tokyo, for what it said was a potential rules violation for “his alleged participation in a pro-war rally” in Moscow in March.

Rylov also lost his endorsement deal with Speedo because of his involvement in the rally.

Before the world championships ban was announced, Rylov said he would not compete at that meet in support of all Russian athletes who have been barred from international competitions after the nation invaded Ukraine.

Rylov was the lone Russian swimmer to take gold at the Tokyo Olympics, where Russians competed as neutral athletes for the Russian Olympic Committee.

ROC went one-two in the men’s 100m back with Rylov and Kliment Kolesnikov. American Ryan Murphy, who swept the backstrokes in 2016, finished third in that race and second behind Rylov in the 200m back.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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